Case Studies

Safe Spaces Scheme extended

by Mark Rowe

The Safe Spaces scheme, which was launched by the National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) last year to make retail outlets a safe space for people in need of help, is being extended to include private security.

Also known as Operation PORTUM, the Safe Spaces scheme is for businesses can sign up to and support; to create safer spaces in shops for employees, customers and anyone in the community that feels vulnerable. While national retailers have already signed up, the NBCC recognises that private security also operates within this space and plays a significant role in keeping customers safe and secure. Hence private security companies are being encouraged to sign up to the scheme and commit to raising awareness among security officers of Operation Portum, and provide guidance on how security officers can use the principles to support and assist those who feel vulnerable.

NBCC lead is Supt Patrick Holdaway. He said: “It’s quite likely that if someone needs help, they will approach a private security officer in a store and it’s really important that the employee knows about the scheme and understands what to do next. It might be that the retail outlet they work with is already signed up to Safe Spaces, in which case they should have a process and training in place already. But if not, by following the basic guidance on how to respond, they can be confident they are doing the right things to support the individual in need of help.”

Mike Reddington, Chief Executive of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) said: “The safety of the public in our town centres and retail parks is paramount, and it is our duty as an industry to adopt best practice to ensure this continues; the British Security Industry Association actively endorses and supports Operation Portum, and we encourage our members to sign up and embed the principles of this scheme into their training programmes.”

Jason Dean, Harm Reduction Manager for the Security Industry Authority (SIA) added: “The NBCC Safe Spaces scheme provides the security industry the opportunity to further contribute to public protection and community safety. Security companies provide services to the retail sector across the UK’s towns, cities and local communities and are a reassuring presence to retail staff and members of the public as well as those who may be vulnerable or need assistance. We encourage the security industry to be part of the NBCC Safe Spaces Scheme and explore with their clients how they can implement the Safe Spaces scheme to increase the network of support across the UK.”

The NBCC reports that the scheme already has support from the likes of John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose, Coop, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons (pictured), Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Next and Boots, making some 13,000 retail units offering a safe space.

The NBCC has developed guidance for security companies wanting to sign up to the scheme and has a short video on its website, which includes ‘dos and don’ts’. Visit

Related News


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay on top of security news and events.

© 2024 Professional Security Magazine. All rights reserved.

Website by MSEC Marketing